Future proofing the Herd Improvement Industry

Posted By Adam Sawell  
12:00 PM

Round 4 of National Herd Improvement of Australia's Herd Improvement Industry Funding Program is now open!

To find out more and apply see the Herd Improvement Industry Funding Program section on the website. Applications close 31st January 2023.

What is the Herd Improvement Industry Funding Program?

A key part of NHIA’s efforts to build resilience and capacity in the herd improvement and AI industry is our Herd Improvement Industry Funding Program, introduced during the last financial year.

The criteria for applicants is simple. NHIA is looking to support innovation projects that enhance and support the Australian Herd Improvement Industry.

Video link - NHIA CEO Sara Merckel explains why the Herd Improvement Industry Funding Program is important

To date over $68,000 has been awarded to projects that will improve data access for farmers around artificial insemination (AI), address Australia’s longstanding shortage of professional AI technicians and increase the ability and knowledge of DIY and professional inseminators.

What kind of projects have been supported so far?

Addressing training and workforce issues - NHIA funding is being used alongside investment by Dairy Australia to develop an up-to-date, industry endorsed national AI training program that can be delivered by eligible registered training organisations. The project will also reinstate and promote the NHIA accredited technicians’ program to promote quality assurance in professional AI technicians with full dairy industry backing.

Livestock Improvement Corporation (LIC) has received co-funding to increase the ability and knowledge of existing professional and DIY AI technicians through increasing the frequency of and access to AI refresher training.

In the most recent round Farmwest has received funding to upskill its principal trainers by completing Certificate IV in Training and Assessment. Farmwest facilitate at least three AI courses per year in Western Australia with 8 to 10 students completing each course.

More accessible and effective herd improvement data - The development and implementation of a mid-infrared spectroscopy (MIR) fertility prediction report for farmers as part of HerdPlatform, the industry’s Herd Test Reporting Platform, is one of two DataGene projects supported by NHIA in the first round of its industry funding program.

DataGene has been working with DairyBio scientists to bring farmers a new tool which gives more insight into which cows are most and least likely to get into calf. The tool uses mid-infrared technology from herd testing to analyse milk samples and will be delivered using the new HerdPlatform, an interactive online portal for herd test results and new insights.

NHIA is also part funding DataGene’s development of the HerdPlatform Selective Dry Cow Tool (SDCT). The SDCT is intended to use existing herd data to help farmers make better dry off decisions for their cows and assist with decisions around better and more controlled antibiotic use.

In the second funding round DataGene received a grant for one-off integration costs relating to the International Dairy Data Exchange Network (iDDEN) hub. iDDEN enables two-way data exchange between farm management software, sensor-based software, breed society databases, herd testing and other industry databases. DataGene has been involved in the establishment of iDDEN as a foundation shareholder, with multiple potential benefits for the Australian dairy industry from participation in iDDEN.

How do I find out more and apply?

The fourth NHIA Herd Improvement Industry Funding program round is now open. Apply here. Program updates will appear on the NHIA website and Facebook page. You can also email NHIA CEO Sara Merckel to find out more.